In April 2017, 39-year-old Jed Taxel, was diagnosed with an occult, metastatic rare cancer. That August, after learning his treatments were ineffective, he rhetorically asked “what will be my legacy?”
Raised in Chappaqua, he graduated from Horace Greeley HS and went on to study at NYU, graduating cum laude with a degree in Journalism.
He was Chief Marketing Officer at BeneStream, whose mission was to help companies, unions and nonprofit organizations obtain government benefits for their lower income workers.
He and his wife Tiffany met in 2005, dated for a couple of years and then reconnected in 2012. They married on October 11, 2014 at the National Arts Club in New York.
Jed was an avid guitar and tennis player, loved to ski the moguls, was active in politics and AA; he had a wide circle of close friends and family. Jed and Tiffany lived in NYC but spent as much time as possible at Twin Maple Farms, the family’s vacation home they shared with Mark and Linda. Jed and Tiffany enjoyed travel, tennis, cooking, tending to a large and diverse garden, but most importantly being together. Life was all they wanted…until it wasn’t.
In February 2017, Jed became ill, experienced severe pain and had a series of tests and received several treatments directed at alleviating his symptoms. An eventual biopsy of a sternal mass revealed a rare cancer of an unknown etiology; further tests demonstrated metastatic spread to his lungs, liver, and bones. Immunotherapy with Keytruda and chemotherapy were ineffective.
He died that October on his third wedding anniversary.
JED, YOU WERE THE BEST FRIEND I COULD HAVE HOPED FOR
“I am a writer and editor by trade but finding the right words to celebrate Jed’s life-Jed’s many lives- has been the most challenging assignment I have received, but I am honored to give it my best.
Jed Taxel was a kind, generous, intelligent, and dynamic friend.He was one of my closest confidents and I am going to miss him very much. Jed and I met shortly after he transferred to NYU and we immediately started a conversation that ran for more than 18 years. In Jed I found a kindred spirit, someone who loved books, and NYC with all his heart. In the early days we talked of writing with a capital “W” and dreamt of an adult life that looked like something out of a Woody Allen movie.
Jed’s path, particularly his career path, took many turns over the years. A friend remembering him commented that Jed was the rare person you could run into at a party and discover he had some new pursuit, and he’d be just as enthusiastic about it as whatever preceded it.
This was not because Jed was fickle. He just never settled. That readiness to try a new path…that took a lot of courage…he chose the challenge, and he did it all with so much passion.
Jed made friends on every walk of his many lives-and he kept them. I didn’t realize the wide net of friends he had made in my own circles until emails and phone calls began pouring in – from friends I didn’t even remember Jed knowing, from others who revealed they’d been closer to him than I had known, from mutual friends I had lost touch with, but whom Jed, of course stayed close.
Friendship with Jed was fast to ignite and long to burn. Everyone who is here to today knows how good it felt to be Jed’s friend.
Jed always could engage and connect with those around him. He loved to talk-and was blessed with a true gift for conversation. You could take him anywhere and he would easily and naturally find his way to a topic that excited his companion…
And he always had a way of putting things just so – he was precise and smart in the way he described things and the way he observed the world. He had a way with words that was often very, very funny…
Today we’ll talk so much about the kind and generous friend Jed was; he was thoughtful and loyal. He was the kind of friend who would send you the perfect and unexpected birthday gift, who would pick up the tab just because, who would show up to whatever event you’d invite him to. But something in particular that stands out to me is what a generous and enthusiastic host Jed was. From the earliest days of our friendship, Jed was inviting people to his home—even as an undergrad with bunkbeds in the bedroom, he was throwing dinner parties. His knack for hosting was at its peak on weekends in the Hamptons or in Pine Plains, where we were all made to feel like family. I find it hard to believe there won’t be another morning to drink coffee and go over the Sunday paper with Jed.
Jed came by his hosting from his family, and I cannot think of another friend who was closer to his parents than Jed was to Mark and Linda. Spending so many weekends with them, it was apparent that Jed not only adored his parents but considered them his best friends….
It may not have worked exactly as we imagined back in college, but Jed packed a lot of living and loving into the time he was allotted. I think especially in the last few years with Tiffany, making a new home in Pine Plains, a place he adored, he was living his life to the fullest.
Tiffany, he loved you so much, and knew how lucky he was to have you…
I would like to think our conversation with Jed didn’t end last week, I for one, will never stop asking myself, “What would Jed think of that?”
And on every summer day, I’ll be expecting him to turn up, tanned with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel, smelling faintly of Bain de Soleil. Ready to talk, ready to listen, ready to smile and laugh and enjoy life.
Jed, you were the best friend I could have hoped for.
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